Newcastle United vs Arsenal Preview: Gunners aim for a strong start on Tyneside
(Photo: Getty Images/NurPhoto)

Newcastle United vs Arsenal Preview: Gunners aim for a strong start on Tyneside

Can Unai Emery get his side off to the perfect start at St. James' Park or will Steve Bruce secure a victory in his first Premier League game managing Newcastle. 

mitzz_s
Mitul Samji

The home side come into this game having not won an opening league game since a 2-1 victor over Tottenham Hotspur in 2012, losing five and drawing one since then.

Newly-appointed Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has beaten the Gunners twice in 27 meetings, with Birmingham in 2005 and Sunderland in 2009.

United secured the signature of Andy Carroll and Emil Krafth from West Ham United and Amiens respectively on deadline day as they look forward to life without Rafa Benitez.

The Gunners coming into this game with high optimism after securing deadline day signings of Kieran Tierney and David Luiz, joining the likes of Nicolas Pepe, William Saliba, Dani Ceballos and Gabriel Martinelli in this season’s transfer market.

Arsenal kept the fewest clean sheets away from home than any other side- kept one clean sheet in last season’s 1-0 away win over Watford. They have also not opened a league campaign at home for the first time in eight seasons when they drew 0-0 at Newcastle in 2011.

The Gunners have lost four of the last six season-opening Premier League matches so both teams will want to end their opening day woes and start their respective with a win.

Team news

Magpies record signing Joelinton could make his debut for the club. Former West Ham United and Liverpool forward Andy Carroll is not yet available.

Newcastle full-back DeAndre Yedlin has been ruled out as he continues to recover from a groin operation.

Arsenal will be without Kieran Tierney, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Dinos Mavropanos who are ruled out for the opening game.

They will also be without German international Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac due to security concerns.

Striker Alexandre Lacazette has suffered an ankle injury and will be assessed ahead of Sunday’s clash against Newcastle, along with record signing Nicolas Pepe and Mohamed Elneny.

Predicted line-ups

Newcastle United: Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Fernandez, Aarons, Hayden, Longstaff, Shelvey, Almiron, Joelinton

Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, David Luiz, Sokratis, Monreal, Torriera, Xhaka, Ceballos, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Lacazette

Key Clashes

Jamaal Lascelles v Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Lascelles has been in the heart of Newcastle’s survival in the top division which he has displayed natural leadership qualities and fantastic defensive displays.

However, he is not the most comfortable ball-playing centre-back around which is to Arsenal’s advantage.

All Arsenal fans know about Aubameyang qualities, he has proven ability as a finisher, which is one of his strongest assets as well as his lightning-quick pace and fast-footed agility.

Matt Ritchie v Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Ritchie brings a wealth of experience to this Newcastle side- he’s strong at taking set-pieces, making key passes and his overall defensive contribution. 

In contrast, Maitland- Niles is likely to feature at right-back covering the absence of Hector Bellerin. Arsenal fans have seen the lack of quality Maitland-Niles can bring at right-back after his performance against Barcelona during Nou Camp proved the issue through a lack of concentration and discipline. 

Potential boycott from Magpies fans

Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce discussing the issue of a potential boycott by fans.

Bruce told BBC Sport:  "Everybody is entitled to boycott if that's what they want to do. We have to respect that.

"For me, I don't want it to upset the team and we know what a full St James' Park can do.

"I am sure the fans will enjoy seeing the players on the pitch.

"I want to give the fans a team they can be proud of and can associate with."

Top four is the key objective

Gunners head coach Unai Emery made his intentions clear for the objectives for this season and has his eye on making a good start to the new season.

Emery told BBC Sport: "Our first objective is to be in the top four but it is going to be difficult. Last year we reduced the distance.

"Manchester City and Liverpool are stronger than others at the beginning but we want to reduce the distance to them and compete with them."

VAVEL Logo